Saturday, January 22, 2011

All things apple!

We have one of the coolest tools ever made in our kitchen.  It is an apple peeler, slicer and corer all wrapped up into one, not very little, mechanism, that really can't be used for anything else.  I love it, my kids love it, and it makes all things apple fun!  If you've never seen one of these, you basically impale the butt end of an apple onto 3 prongs that are at the end of an old-fashioned crank.  As you turn the crank, the apple spins and passes through the peeler, slicer and corer.  It comes out the other side looking a bit like an apple slinky.  One can get through a dozen apples in about 3 minutes.  In the nearly 15 years that I've had it, no one in my family has ever tired of using it, including my husband!

When I announce that we're going to make apple crisp, my daughter immediately goes into her victory dance.  Honestly, the day she stops doing this will be a very sad one.  She doesn't really dance, but jumps up and down while pumping both arms in the air shouting, "Wahoo!" with the biggest smile and brightest blue eyes you have ever seen.  I can actually see her hair tangling as it swings around her face.  My 3 year old son chimes in with his own, "Wahoo!" and little victory dance which looks a lot like something Ed Grimly would do.  (Yep, that would be Martin Short's Ed Grimly from Saturday Night Live so many years ago.)  The baby just grins from one ear to the other.  He figures if the other two are that excited, then it must be something good!

It has been at least a year since I last made apple crisp, so I'm pretty sure it was just the word "apple" that produced the excited response I got from my kids.  This particular recipe makes me happy because it can be made entirely with your hands.  Since we have the cool apple tool, we don't need to cut anything.  For the time being, I can leave the sharp knives in the drawer.

Determined to impart some real wisdom onto my children, I begin by explaining that you should always get out everything you will need before you get started.  The baby actually fell asleep right then and there, the 3 year old gave me a look I'm sure I'll see more of when he's a teen-ager, and my daughter may have given me her first eye-roll.  Okay, the baby went down for his nap just before we got started, but the rest of it is true.  Unfortunately, I lost the 3 year old with that first sentence; he ran off to play his game.  Just me and the little girl left.  I don't want to lose her too, so I put her in charge of getting the flour, oats, cinnamon, mace, allspice and cardamom.  She's just starting to read, so the oats and mace were easy to find, but the cinnamon and cardamom had to be spelled at least 10 times before she finally found them.  Hopefully this experience will help her with her upcoming spelling bee.  I get the bowls, baking dish, brown sugar, butter, and, of course, the apples and apple tool. 

The cool apple tool has a little suction cup that secures it to the counter.  I get it all set up and impale the first of five apples.  I never get sick of watching my kids crank that thing as fast as they can.  My daughter furiously zips through all five apples with gusto and then gingerly breaks each apple slinky into more manageable pieces.  I have her measure out the spices into a little ramekin first and then sprinkle them over the apples.  We also add a little sugar and flour.  When I instruct her to mix the apples and spices with her hands, she crinkles up her nose and says, "Ummmm, no."  I can see that she's already dug in her heels on this one, so I do a little eye-roll of my own and show her how easy, and not gross, it really is.

Now it's time to mix the topping.  I take a deep breath and explain that she's going to have to get her hands a little dirty.  We need to squish the oats, flour, brown sugar and butter together.  Apparently squishing butter is a lot more appealing that gently folding apples and spices.  Whatever!  She really does have a spelling bee coming up, and because I'm a mom through and through, I can't resist the opportunity to teach a new word.  I tell her to keep squishing until everything is "incorporated".  When all of the powdery stuff is "incorporated" with the butter, sprinkle it evenly over the apples.  She perfomed this task beautifully and hardly sprinkled any of the topping on the table.  Because my kids are as young as they are, they will not be handling anything going into or coming out of the oven.  I want to give them skills not scars!

There is nothing quite like the smell of baking apples.  It goes perfectly with the crisp, cool air of an impending snow storm.  And this time the smell is even more divine because it's source was made almost entirely by one 6 year old little girl.  

1 comment:

  1. We have the same apple peeler/slicer and the kids love it. yumm apple crisp